Here it is: The Best Carry-on Luggage, Tested by a Seasoned Traveler

Change the way you travel with this 3-in-1 bag.

I have found my favorite carry-on luggage.

I hate checking bags. Hate it with the strength of a thousand burning suns. Hate it like Chicagoans hate potholes and ketchup. The idea of my stuff buried in the belly of a plane where I can’t see it or how it got there makes my toes curl. I mean, what if they lose my stuff? It’s been known to happen. If I had a luggage tag for every friend who’s reached their destination but their stuff has mysteriously disappeared somewhere between Departures and Arrivals, I could tag a 747’s worth of wheelies.

I’d rather drive across the country with my stuff than check a bag.

(Of course, that’s not really a punishment. I kinda like road trips.)


The downside of not checking a bag is that I have to lug all of my stuff. Have to go to the bathroom? Wheel it down the concourse and hope I don’t trip anyone. Sudden gate change? Now I’m pulling my suitcase behind me like it’s a willful toddler.

It’s a pain.

What I’m trying to say is, I have found my new favorite piece of luggage. It’s a suitcase; it’s a backpack; it’s a shoulder bag. It’s brilliant!

Standard Luggage Co. reached out to me earlier this year and asked if I’d like to check out their 3-in-1. I had a trip coming up (when don’t I?), and it looked like it would be a good solution.

It is.

I’ve now carted this bad boy to Scottsdale, Arizona; Hendricks County, Indiana; Asheville, North Carolina; and Traverse City, Michigan. I have put it through its paces, and I love this bag.


Let me count the ways.

Standard Luggage Co. provided their Carry-on Backpack free of charge. I love it so much I’m now an affiliate, which means if you get one, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Win-win-win!

Why Standard Luggage Co’s Backpack is the Best Carry-On Luggage Ever

1. It’s roomy.

Standard Luggage Co’s Carry-on Backpack has the space of a carry-on sized suitcase, so it will fit everything you’re used to packing in your standard wheelie.

2. It’s light.

It only weighs 3.7 pounds.

3. It’s efficient.

There are so many pockets and cubby holes it gets this Type A list-maker singing with joy. There are two pockets on the outside, and inside there’s a flat compartment that’s nearly the width and length of the bag, as well as both solid and mesh pockets for storing stuff. Straps in the main compartment allow you to compress your compression bags

There’s even room for my laptop with pockets for its accompanying cords and tethers, and the laptop sleeve is easily removed. That makes it easy to go through security, and it also means my computer is protected at my seat when I stow my bag overhead.

4. It’s secure.

The laptop compartment and the main compartment both have lockable zips.

5. It’s soft-sided.

For checked luggage, I’d be happy to have a hard-sided suitcase. For carry-on bags, soft-sided is the way to go. It’s more comfortable and I can squish things a bit. It also expands in case I pick up a few things on my travels.

6. There’s a spot for my water bottle.

I always take a refillable water bottle with me when I travel, and there’s a collapsible pocket so I don’t have to carry it or tuck it in my personal bag.

7. I can change the colors.

The bag is black, but it comes with all sorts of orange and blue accents. Pick one, or both!

8. It’s balanced.

Just like a true backpack should be. The ergonomics are probably the most important part of this bag, and why I had no problem going from one terminal to another when my gate changed at PHX.

Standard Luggage Co. Carry-on Backpack is well balanced
Packed for a week in Scottsdale, Arizona. This and my purse was all I needed!

I was in Scottsdale for a week and only brought my Standard Carry-on Backpack and a purse, so the bag had a bit of heft to it. Pulling a suitcase that heavy would have worn me out. But, as soon as I got this bag on my back I could have walked the entire airport. I could have skipped through the entire airport. 

The bag has the standard shoulder harness, plus it has straps across the chest and hips so the weight can be evenly distributed. If you prefer to carry it by the handle or as a shoulder bag, however, those straps can be tucked into their own compartment. 

9. It plays nice with other luggage.

What if you need to check a bag, or if you also have a wheeled carry-on? There’s a strap to slide the handle through so you can pull them both at once.

10. It helps keep you safe.

There’s a discreet whistle designed into the sternum clip in case you run into trouble.

11. It stays dry.

This deluxe bag even comes with its own rain cover. When I learned that I immediately thought of twenty-somethings backpacking through Europe or Southeast Asia, but it would also come in handy for the traveler waiting for the shuttle in the airport parking lot, or the city dweller trying to catch a bus or train.

12. It looks cool.

I’ve received compliments from Arizona to Asheville. “Wow! That’s a suitcase? That’s awesome!”

I agree.

Theresa carrying her Standard Luggage Co. carry-on backpack

The only request I’d make is for Standard to use some of their clever engineering prowess to also add wheels and a handle. I’d rarely use them, but when walking short distances (from the car to the hotel lobby, for instance), it would be nice to pop out the wheels and roll it in.

This frequent traveler is a fan. If you’re in the market for the best carry-on luggage, I highly, highly recommend Standard’s Carry-on Backpack.

Price: $175, with free shipping!


Size & Capacity

  • Bag dimensions: 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 in zipped and 21.5 x 13.5 x 9.5 expanded
  • Volume: 35L zipped and 45L when expanded
  • Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Laptop pocket: Fits 15.6 in laptops and 15 in MacBook Pro
  • Tablet pocket: Fits 10 in tablets
  • Main pocket: Holds 5-7 outfits (more if you pack a capsule wardrobe!)


  • 1680 denier high tenacity ballistic nylon
  • Water-resistant, durable, and easy to clean
  • YKK brand buckles & zips & buckles
  • ITW Nexus sternum strap
  • Lifetime Warranty and Satisfaction Guarantee